All the standard disclaimers. Not mine. Never have been; never will be. No money is being made. I just want to play with them for a bit.
Inspired by the ending scene from "Something Wicked."
Dean had been dreading this day for as long as he could remember. He had always known it would come but that didn't make it any easier, now that it was actually here.
Dean had made his father promise years ago that, before he said anything to Sammy, he would tell him first. Dean didn't want Sammy finding out the same way he did. He just didn't think that was right.
Dean glanced over at Sammy, watching Scooby-Doo on TV. Even though Dad had told him when he was two years younger than Sammy, he didn't think that his brother was old enough - not yet.
Hell…he was only six. Six years old. Watching cartoons on TV. Cartoon full of ghosts and goblins and all sorts of silly monsters. But all those scary things belonged on TV. In cartoons. Not in real life. Not when you're six.
But Dad had decided that it was time for Sammy to know the truth. No more coddling him; he wasn't a baby. That's what Dad said. But had Dad looked at him lately? Really looked at him?
Because Sammy was still a baby. He still had that cute little baby lisp. Still spun some of his words around so they sounded like baby talk. Still said 'aminal' instead of animal. Still had a tendency to suck his thumb. And he still cried whenever he was afraid.
But Dad didn't see all that. Or else he did see it, but he didn't want to acknowledge it. And now Dad thought that Sammy was old enough to deal with the truth.
The truth about monsters. And ghosts. And things in the closet. Things that go bump in the night. All those things that find their way into children's nightmares. All those things that Dean had been protecting Sammy from all his life.
Every time Sammy was scared. Dean helped him through it. Hid under the covers with him. Held him close. Told him not to be afraid. Stayed with him until he wasn't scared anymore.
And sometimes Dean even lied.
Dean lied and told him there was nothing to be scared of. That there was nothing out there. But he didn't lie when he told Sammy that nothing was going to hurt him. Because Dean would always make sure of that. He would always make sure that nothing would ever hurt Sam. Not now. And not ever.
Not even Dad. Or his stupid idea that Sammy was ready for this. Because Dean knew he wasn't. Dean only wished he could convince Dad that Sammy wasn't ready.
But there was no way he would ever be able to do that. He knew that.
Dean glanced over at Sammy again; he was almost asleep on the couch. Almost asleep while on the TV, some stupid swamp monster was chasing Shaggy and Scooby all over town. And Shaggy and Scooby were scared.
But Sammy wasn't scared. Sammy wasn't scared because he knew it wasn't real. It was just a cartoon. Dean had told him so himself.
And Dean hadn't lied about that either. There were no swamp monsters. Not like they showed on Scooby-Doo anyway.
At least that was what he had told himself when he had held Sammy close and dried his tears the first time he had watched this show. The first time he had watched it and been completely terrified that the swamp monster was going to come and get him. He had clung to Dean so tightly that Dean thought he was going to suffocate.
But he had stopped crying when Dean told him it wasn't real. That there was nothing like that swamp monster in real life. And Sammy had believed him. Sammy had calmed down a little and Dean had started to tickle him. He tickled him until Sammy forgot all about the swamp monster and laughed so hard that he almost started to cry again.
And Dad had come in to see what was going on. Why the two of them were laughing so hard.
And Sammy had told him.
He told him how he had been scared of a silly monster on Scooby-Doo but Dean had told him that the monster wasn't real. And Dean never lied.
At least that's what Sammy thought. And that's what Sammy told Dad.
And Dad had been mad. Dean knew he was mad as soon as Sam told him what he had said. Dean saw it in his father's eyes. In the way he glared at him. And he knew he was in trouble. Just as soon as Sammy went to bed.
And he had been right. As soon as Sammy had gone to bed, his father had ordered him front and centre. Dean stood in front of his father knowing what was going to happen. He heard his father tell him that he was wrong to lie to Sammy. And he was never to do it again. Never. Did he understand that?
And he was going to be punished for lying to Sammy now. Because he had to learn never to lie to Sammy again. Not about monsters. Because monster were real and he knew that. And someday Sammy would know that too. There was no excuse for lying to Sammy about that.
And his father had spanked him. That was the first and only time that his father had ever laid a finger on him. He had told Dean that he had no choice. Not after what he had done.
It had really hurt but Dean wasn't going to let his father know how much it hurt. He felt tears well up behind his eyes but he refused to let them fall. If he let them fall, then he would be admitting that his father was right. And that he had been wrong. Wrong to protect Sammy.
But he wasn't wrong. He knew that.
So when Dad had finished punishing him and told him to go to bed, Dean stood in front of him and told him that he had something to say first. He told his father that he wanted him to promise that, before he told Sammy the truth about monsters and demons and ghosts, he would let Dean know that he was going to tell him.
Dad looked at him and just ordered him to go him to bed. And Dean had responded with "Yes Sir. As soon as you promise me that you'll let me know before you tell Sammy."
Dad had stared at him for a few minutes before nodding his assent. And as soon as he did that, Dean had gone to bed without another word to his father. He had what he wanted. His father's word about telling Sammy the truth.
And later that night, when Sammy awoke from a nightmare and had climbed into bed with him, Dean told him again how the monster in his dream wasn't real. Because it wasn't. It only existed in Sammy's dream. So Dean knew he hadn't lied.
No matter what his father thought.
But now Dad was going to tell Sammy that monsters were real. And Dean had no way to stop him. No way to protect Sammy. Not from the truth. Not this time.
But he could soften the blow. It didn't have to be as harsh as Dad would make it. As harsh as it had been for him. Because that was the only way Dean could protect Sammy now.
So Dean walked over to Dad and he stood up as tall as he could. He looked at his father and said, "Sir" trying to sound as grown-up and official as he possibly could.
Dad put down his pen and looked at him. "Go ahead."
Dean took a deep breath and then continued, "I want you to let me tell Sam."
"I don't think that's a good idea, Dean."
"Yes Sir, it is. I have to be the one to tell him."
"And why's that?"
"Because Sammy trusts me." Then Dean realized what he had said and he tried to backtrack. "I mean, he trusts you too. It's just that I'm the one he always comes to when he's scared. And I don't want him to be scared."
"And you think I'll scare him?"
"Yes Sir, I do." Dean swallowed hard, not knowing how his father would react to that.
But his father just looked back at him and asked, "Why do you think that?"
"Because you scared me when you told me."
"Yes sir, you did. And I don't want you to scare Sammy."
"Don't you think he'll be scared anyway?"
"No sir," replied Dean. "Because I'll think of a way to tell him so he won't be scared."
"I don't think it's as easy as that."
All Dean's false bravado fell away at that moment and he looked at his father, tears brimming in his eyes. "Dad, please just let me do it. Let me tell him." He blinked away his tears, knowing that his father would view them as a sign of weakness. "It's just something that I have to do." Then he added very quietly, "Please, Dad."
John looked at his oldest son and his heart almost broke. He knew he was hard on his boys, especially Dean, but he had always convinced himself that it was for their own good. For their safety. But now he wasn't so sure if he'd done the right thing. Here was his ten year old son pleading with him to be the one to tell his six year old brother that his safe little world really wasn't that safe at all.
And he was going to let him.
He made Dean promise that he would tell Sammy today. And he wouldn't tell him any lies. Only the truth. No matter how much it upset him.
And Dean had agreed. But he wanted to tell him in his own way.
And he made Dad promise to stay out of it.
When Sammy woke from his brief nap on the couch, Dean told him that he was going to take him to the park to play. Sammy had been so excited that he had almost tripped over his shoes trying to get ready as fast as he could. He had gone over and given his father a great big hug before they left.
And Dean wondered how Dad could accept that hug and still believe that Sam was old enough to know the truth.
Dean had made Sammy take his hand while they walked across the parking lot. Once they were on the sidewalk Sammy twisted his hand out of Dean's and skipped ahead of him. He knew enough to wait for Dean once he reached the end of the street and he called out to him to hurry up.
Sam eagerly put his tiny hand into Dean's so they could cross the street, but once again he couldn't wait to let go as soon as they made it across. The playground was just up ahead about half a block and Sammy asked if he could run ahead. Dean told him that he'd race him instead.
Sam's little face lit up with a huge grin and he exclaimed, "On your mark, get set…GO!"
The two boys were off and Dean pulled ahead of his brother briefly before he slowed a bit and let Sam pass him. Sammy ran as fast as he could to the park and never even suspected that Dean had let him win. As he reached out to touch the swings, Sammy turned to face Dean, jumped up and down and declared triumphantly, "I WON! I BEAT YOU!"
Dean smiled at his brother and simply said, "Yep. You won. Fair and square."
Sammy was far too excited to notice that something was bothering Dean. Dean really didn't want to play and he was happy when Sam found a boy about his age to play with. Dean sat on one of the benches and watched his little brother.
Now that he had convinced his father to let him tell Sammy, he wasn't sure he could do it. Especially as he watched Sammy jump around on the play structure like he was a kid. Because he was a kid.
And Dean couldn't remember ever doing that himself. He couldn't remember just being a kid, with no worries and no cares. Not since Mom died. And he could barely remember anything before that night.
Dean thought back to the night Dad had told him. He remembered watching TV when his father sat down in another chair and called him over. When Dean went over to his father, he had placed Dean in front of him and put his hands on his shoulders.
Dean looked into his father's eyes wondering why he looked so sad.
Dad had said, "Dean, there's things out there that will hurt you and we have to talk about them."
Dean had straightened his shoulders to show his father how smart he was, and replied, "I know Daddy. Mommy told me all about bad people."
"Not bad people, Buddy. Bad things. There are lots and lots of bad things out there that will hurt you."
"What kind of bad things, Daddy?"
"Monsters. And ghosts. All kinds of creatures that people don't think really exist."
"But Daddy, Mommy told me monsters aren't real."
"Well, Mommy was wrong, Buddy."
Dean had started to cry and he looked at his father as he muttered, "But, Mommy wouldn't lie to me."
Dad had taken a deep breath and replied, "She didn't lie, Dean. She just didn't know. She didn't know that there are all kinds of monsters out there. And they will hurt you if you don't know about them."
"Daddy, you're scaring me," whimpered Dean as tears ran down his cheeks
"No, Dean, I'm not scaring you. I'm telling you the truth. You have to dry your tears and be a big boy. Can you do that for me?"
Dean wiped the back of his hands across his cheeks to dry his tears, and he whispered, "I want Mommy," even though he knew that Mommy was gone. But he was scared and he knew that, if Mommy was there, she would make him feel better.
"Dean," answered Dad, sternly. "You know Mommy's gone. And you're a big boy now. Big enough to know about monsters and bad things. Big enough to help me protect Sammy from them."
Dean was roused from his memories as Sammy charged over to him and grabbed his arm.
"Dean, push me on the swing. Come on!" He pulled Dean off the bench and over to the swings. He climbed onto a swing and he looked at Dean, full of enthusiasm. "Do an under-ducky, Dean! Make me go high!"
As he pushed his brother on the swing, Dean thought about how he was going to tell Sammy and how much he didn't want him to know. It just wasn't fair. Today Sammy was playing so happily on the swings and tomorrow he would be afraid of his own shadow.
Dean knew. Because he had been. He had been afraid of everything, especially things that weren't there.
Dean remembered going to bed that night after Dad told him. He could still recall just how scared he was. Of every shadow and every sound. Everything that moved and everything that didn't. And he had eventually gotten up the courage to go to Dad's room.
"Can I sleep with you, Daddy?"
"No, Dean. I want you to sleep in your own bed."
But Dean would never do that to Sammy. He never had and he was not going to start now. Not when he knew that tonight Sammy would really need him.
Dean stopped pushing his brother on the swing. "Come on, Kiddo. We gotta go."
"Aww," came the expected reply.
"I'll buy you ice cream."
"Okay!" and Sammy jumped off the swing and ran back to Dean. "Let's go!"
"Okay. But listen. There's something I have to talk to you about, okay? So if I get you ice cream, you have to promise to be good and listen to me. Is that a deal?"
"Deal," stated Sammy, dragging his brother across the park and toward the store.
Dean bought him a fudgicle and then they walked back to the park and sat down at one of the picnic tables away from everyone else.
Dean watched his brother eat his ice cream treat, chocolate gathering around the corners of his mouth. He was too young for this.
"Hey, Kiddo," began Dean. He got up and went around the table in order to sit beside Sammy. He sat down with his back against the table, facing the opposite way as his brother. "We got some serious stuff to talk about."
"Yeah? Like what?" asked Sammy, much more interested in his fudgicle, than talking to Dean.
"Like keeping you safe."
"Things. All kinds of things."
"But you and Daddy do that."
"Yeah, I know. But sometimes there's things that you have to know about to keep yourself safe," stated Dean. "For those times when Dad and I can't be there."
"Like at school?" asked Sammy, finally looking over at his brother.
"Yeah. Like that."
"Can't Mrs. Stewart keep me safe at school?"
"Not all the time, Sammy." Dean looked at his brother and smiled. He took a deep breath and continued hesitantly, "And, sometimes, Dad and I might need help too. So we need you to help us."
Sam gave him that 'don't-be-so-silly-what-could-you-possibly-need-help-for' look.
"No, I mean it, Sammy," affirmed Dean, trying his best to sound serious. "You're getting bigger now. What are you….five already?"
"I'm six! You know that!"
"Six? See? You're a big boy now, so you have to know about big boy things – like Dad and I do."
"So I can help you?" asked Sam, his curiosity aroused now.
"That's right," confirmed Dean. "But sometimes big boy things can be scary, especially if you don't know about them first. So that's what we have to talk about."
"But you have to promise me that you won't talk about this with anyone else except me or Dad. Okay?"
Sam looked quizzically at his brother, not really sure what he was talking about.
"Sammy, this is important. You can only talk to Dad or me about this stuff. It's kinda like a family secret. Promise me?"
"Sure," stated Sam, more to get Dean to get off his back, than really meaning anything by saying it.
"Okay, Sammy," said Dean. "You know all those cartoons you like to watch? Ghostbusters? Thundercats? Scooby-Doo?"
"You know how they're always fighting bad guys and monsters? And some of those bad guys are pretty scary dudes?"
"Yeah, but they're not real, Dean. You told me yourself."
"No, they're not real, Sammy. Not the ones on TV. But there are some pretty scary dudes that are real."
"Like Tommy Ryder? He's pretty scary. He's in Mr. Lewis's class."
"No, Sammy, not like Tommy Ryder. Like the scary monsters on TV, only they're not cartoon monsters. They're real monsters."
Sam turned to Dean, his eyes wide with fright. "Like Scooby-Doo monsters?"
"Yeah," sighed Dean. "Something like them. Not exactly like the monsters and ghosts on Scooby-Doo, but sorta like them."
"Real monsters?" echoed Sam, his voice cracking as his eyes filled with tears.
"Yeah, real monsters. Monsters that could hurt you when Dad and I aren't around."
"What would they do to me?" asked Sam timidly.
"They could hurt you if you aren't careful. But they won't, if you know about them and learn how to protect yourself. That's why Dad makes us learn how to fight. Why we're always wrestling with each other. It's how you learn how to protect yourself." Dean tried to smile at his brother, but he only managed a half-hearted grin. Then he lightened his voice as he added, "But you wanna know something? Dad fights those monsters. Every night when he goes out. He fights them to keep us save. And to keep other people save too."
"But what if they hurt Daddy?"
"They won't," stated Dean firmly. "Because Dad's smarter than them. He beats them all the time."
"Is Daddy a hero?"
"Dean grinned at his brother and then tousled his hair and then put his arm around him. "Yeah. He's a hero."
"Are you a hero too, Dean?"
"No, Sammy, I'm not a hero."
"But don't you protect me and keep me save?"
"Yeah, Sammy, I do, but that doesn't make me a hero. That just makes me your big brother."
"Will you protect me from the monsters?"
"Of course I will."
"Even the real scary ones?"
"Especially the scary ones."
"All the time? Even when I'm bigger?"
"Yeah. Even when you get bigger. I'll always protect you. Always."